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Disclaimer: This is merely documentation of a bearing/hub assembly replacementon that I did on a 1996 Dodge Intrepid, not a set of instructions or directions for such a repair. You are advised to have any similar repair completed by your dealer or a professional repair shop. If you are going to attempt this repair yourself anyway, this document is not a replacement for a factory shop manual. Do not attempt this repair without a factory shop manual specific to your vehicle. The repair documented here involves both the steering and suspension systems; improper repairs to these systems may result in loss of control of your vehicle and loss of life and/or property.
The hub/bearing assembly is a sealed unit that bolts to the steering knuckle. The driveshaft stub axle passes through the center of the assembly and engages the hub via splines on the stub axle. The stub axle is fastened to the hub by a single 34 mm nut threaded directly onto the axle. For removal, the hub/bearing assembly needs to be separated from both the steering knuckle and the stub axle. The hub/bearing assembly must be removed from the vehicle for lug removal/replacement, for CV joint repairs, and possibly other repairs as well. In this photo of a completed job, the hub/bearing assembly is seen clearly as the only shiny new part.
1. First I removed the wheel, brake caliper, and brake rotor. The brake caliper must be hung out of the way on a wire, it can not be allowed to be supported by the brake line.
2. I removed the three bolts holding the hub/bearing assembly to the steering knuckle. If these bolts are rusted tight, a generous amount of creep-in oil will help break them loose.
So will an impact wrench.
So will a cheater bar.
3. Now the large 34 mm nut holding the stub axle to the hub can be removed. A generous amount of creep-in oil will help here as well. So will an impact wrench or air ratchet. A large combination wrench held against the brake caliper arms will keep the hub from turning.
4. Now the bearing/hub assembly can be removed relatively easily from the steering knuckle with a standard pry bar, and from the stub axle with a non-marring hammer. Do not use a steel hammer, damage to the axle threads is nearly certain if you do. I used a brass hammer myself. A copper or plastic hammer may work as well. A rubber mallet is probably too soft. A block of hardwood and a steel hammer may also work as long as your aim is good.
I was able to work the prybar around the bearing/hub assembly, keeping the gap between the assembly and the steering knuckle approximately the same all the way around so that the bearing assembly is coming straight out. Periodically I used the copper hammer to tap the stub axle back out of the hub. I think a drum puller may be useful to push the stub axle out of the hub, but not much use in removing the hub/bearing assembly from the steering knuckle. I didn’t use a drum puller.
5. The sealed bearings of the old assembly will likely separate, leaving a section of the bearing assembly in the steering knuckle. I use a screwdriver and needle nose locking pliers to pull the remaining pieces of the bearing assembly from the steering knuckle. You have to be careful not to damage the machined faces of the steering knuckle. If the bearing/hub assembly comes apart, it can not be re-used and must be replaced.
When I had gotten the old bearing/hub assembly completely removed from the stub axle and steering knuckle it looked like this:
6. Now all I had to do is clean up the steering knuckle and stub axle and install the new hub/bearing assembly. The copper hammer was useful to tap the assembly into the steering knuckle. The 34 mm axle nut is torque-specific and may not be re-used once it has been installed. The old nut can be used to help pull the stub axle through the hub, I was careful not to exceed the maximum torque.
When the stub axle was pulled tight against the hub (you can see this from the back side of the steering knuckle), I installed the new 34 mm axle nut snug to the hub. Then I torqued the three bearing/hub assembly bolts, reinstalled the brake rotor, reinstalled the brake caliper, and torqued the caliper slide bolts. After that I reinstalled the wheels, tightened the lug nuts in the star pattern and torqued them. Proper tightening and torquing of the lug nuts is required in order to prevent warping of the brake rotor.
When the wheels were back on, I lowered the vehicle to the ground, removed the center cap from the wheels, and torqued the 34 mm axle bolt to factory specifications. The axle nut must be torqued carefully to prevent axle failure. Job completed!
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